Silent Shore


Photo credit: Andrew Malone

Gather around to listen to the last living witness of Hadili.  Long ago, I lived in that infamous haunted port.  The harbor bustled with fishing boats and traders.  Cypress trees lined wide avenues.  Grapevines and olive trees dotted the hills.

The war with the Evrak devastated us, but we fought them off.  Our leaders spoke of hope.  We would rebuild.

Then Sabiron the Destroyer arrived, with her ships of armored corpses.  She raised our own fallen against us, hideous desecrations.

The dead shed no blood, feel no pain.  One took an arrow to the eye; it barely slowed.  You cut off one arm and it fights with the other.  Seeing their empty-eyed brothers slaying children, men vowed to release them, only to meet the same fate.

They fought until nothing was left.

Scavengers have ventured in since.  Some return with rescued heirlooms or stolen treasures, some babbling with madness.  Most never return.

Bury your dead deep.  Hide them.  They killed Sabiron, but she has died before. Who can say which death will be the last?

Word count: 175.  Written for this week’s Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers.  Big thanks to our hostess Priceless Joy, and to Barb CT for providing the original photo prompt, below.  Click here to see the other stories and to submit one of your own!

For more on the history behind this story, check out Dead Reckoning.  Yes, it turns out that the infamous warlord Sabiron the Destroyer is the same necromancer who thinks of herself as Sabna (her father’s nickname for her), even after all those years and all those bodies.


Photo © Barb CT

38 thoughts on “Silent Shore

  1. Ooh, lovely atmosphere to this one Joy. Just imagining all those dead sailors fighting, never falling. Love the idea of a haunted port and the threat of Sabiron’s return. ‘Bury your dead deep’ – If that isn’t a cracking line, I don’t know what is. Loved it

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Lynn, so nice of you to say so! Guess I’m still in a bit of horror mood left over from Halloween, but once I saw the ruined pier in the original photo, I thought back to the Dead Reckoning story. Sabiron and her undead army feature in some other longer stories that we haven’t seen here yet, but yep, they’re all pretty gruesome. Let’s just say that by this point — when the events told in the above story happen — she has been “living” for far too long and is quite mad.

      Liked by 1 person

      • My pleasure. I think madness is inevitable if you live for hundreds of years. I have a character in my YA book who’s immortal and I assume that when he’s seen so many people live and die he looks on mortals as insects, living briefly, achieving little. That sort of perspective on creation would send the best of us barking mad, I reckon 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • I agree, it’s an issue for any long-lived creature, especially one where it’s not normal for their species and everyone else they know grows old and dies. Sabina has the extra problem that she’s been messing with more and more necromancy magic over time, not just raising the dead but extending her own existence through unnatural means. Which is Not Recommended, given the unpredictable consequences.

        Liked by 1 person

      • The necromancy in my world feels very sci-fi to me, bringing up a lot of trans-human and post-human issues. If you keep changing your physical body to such an extent, at what point are you no longer human? At what point are you no longer yourself?

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Evocative story. But I admit it was the photo attracted me. We have many such ribs of old ships protruding from the muds of Breydon Water (the estuary that lurks behind our town, said town being built on a sand-bar.Heavens help us if there’s ever an earthquake around here.)

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Great story! Very chilling and intriguing! I messed up and sent out the challenge one day early and now it has opened up and you can link your story to the InLinkz Story Board. I can no longer help ya’ll do this because it no longer gives me the link in order to do so.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Love this not. Such a frightening concept. What if you knew the loved one whose corpse was attacking you? That would be brutal. A zombie like army that cannot die. Very ‘The Mummy 2’ like. You portray the devastation and horror of this army well. How do you stop it?

    Liked by 1 person

    • I agree — knowing the person who’s become a zombie and is attacking you is so much creepier, so much sadder. These undead can be destroyed, it just takes a little more work than with regular bleeding, breathing opponents. Obviously arrows aren’t much good, and a lot of spells are totally useless against them, but a good strong mace can smash them up until they stop moving. It’s pretty gross, though. Thanks for commenting!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Glad you enjoyed it Sammi. I was drawn to the idea that this woman was there as a little girl, and is the only one of the survivors who’s still alive to tell the true tale. I imagine there are many other tales and legends circulating about what really happened and what fate awaits those who try to enter that are less true — although for that matter, the long-ago memories of a child aren’t that reliable either. So this is another example of my fascination with how “history” evolves over time. 😉

      Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you Millie, glad you thought so! Yes, Sabiron really tore her way through the country during this part of history. Luckily for her enemies, she’s not technically immortal. But a powerful necromancer who is unburdened by moral compunctions about using other people’s lives can extend her life long enough to learn more and become even more powerful, finding yet more ways to extend her existence in some form or another, until she has “lived” many lifetimes. Definitely a force to be reckoned with.


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